As Saturday September 3 has arrived the nerves are starting to jump. How could the season be here already? No repairs, no maintenance, just a few sail repairs in the off season for Axis of Evil, not even a rig tune! The forecast doesn't help the jitters, as Speed suggests the wind forecast is for 20-30 knots from the west and bloody Sumo has texted me to say that it will be blowing the oysters off the rocks! This will sort out the men, ladies and girls.
As I arrive at the club, I am meet by Farrgo’s skipper Barry who is crying that his crew has pulled out already. Next to arrive is skipper of Xena Warrior Princess, who is questioning Barry as to a reason why she should not sail. The men from A Fine Balance arrive and the talk gets serious that it’s actually not that bad out there, the oysters are holding to the rocks now! The tide is ripping out and with 20 knots of breeze on top there are no white caps so a dry day for all. BAM arrives and picks up LOEG crew. Along comes Anne the starter and the flag goes up, Carolyn organises her crew in their new shirts and Barry is left knowing he is going to miss a nice sail today. All crews leave the club to prepare for what Huey has in store for us today.
Once on board, the familiarity of our great little boat comes back. We have lots to do, as we, but unlike our brothers who sail boats that have many jibs, mains and/or reefable sails, we have but one set of sails. But we do have to tighten the rig for this weather. We move the mast step, adjust the rig tensions, flatten the main to where it has never been in preparation for that westerly. With 15 minutes to the start we arrive at the line. Division 3 have A Fine Balance, and Xena racing. Xena looks balanced with a reef and no 2 headsail, while A Fine Balance looked steady as a rock. “Where are the others?” we ask, as Carolyn would not sail in heavy weather. Looking about the Bays and river we spot Still Festering and Resurgent, but nowhere to be seen are the dainty young Girls from LOEG, surely they are not pulling out, what are they sooks, boys without ticker, or just plain losers? We will find out later who was right, if we all come back with broken gear or not.
The time counts down and Resurgence is off like a cracker, with AOE not far behind with SF closing in. Our rig set is perfectly for the conditions with the boat well balanced and fast. Nice header/knock work by Speed have us in a position to make Resurgent tack away at Cabarita and we now lead. Rounding mark 1, we question ourselves about putting up the kite, when Speed says "Where is the breeze boys?", "Behind us, Master", we say! Speed knows best, so up goes the kite. Gutsy sailing from team AOE was shown to all. The breeze is just right this run is going to be one to remember, the boat is out of the water to the chain plate's and creating a wake lie a destroyer! One mistake and it all over, but she stays under control. Still Festering is just beside us just with the jib up, and Resurgent is not far behind. Rounding mark 5, we are slow to get it together, giving Still Festering the opportunity to take the lead as we approach Bedlam bay.
Hard sailing and superior boat speed back to mark 1 see's SF round about a minute in front of us. Up goes the kite again as we head to 4 in Hen and Chicken Bay. The run is uneventful but as we turn at mark 4 we notice Team Resurgent has shaken out their reef and are now chasing us hard. The 3/4 out of the bays leaves us in SF's wake as she takes off like all good Adams do on that angle of breeze. As we round Cabarita we get smashed by the increased wind gusts. Resurgent may wish they had the reef in when they get back here we think. As we approach mark 1, SF are now a good 4 minutes in front. There is no doubting what the call will, be so up goes the kite and it is now time to hold on. What a ride! The boat is now jumping down the river, and yes we are chasing SF hard. "Never give up" is the skippers cry. Jim and I cannot pull the sheets any tighter and we dare not let anything off. On to the finish, the race was most enjoyable, but where were the girls? Safe, dry, and secure in the club house to watch SF cross the line 2:30 minutes in front of AOE with Resurgence finishing 4:30 behind us. A Fine Balance sailed well, leading XWP around the course. Congratulations to Carolyn and her crew for sailing on such a tough day. To our competitors in Division 1 who sailed and those who did not, we look forward to the new season and the veranda talk each Saturday.
Scribed by AOE